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Friday, June 27, 2008

Comic Book Lettering: Cover Elements

Back when I started this blog I had intentions to do a lot more discussion on the technical and aesthetic sides of lettering. So this post will be a stab at that. Here is a comic cover for an issue of The All New Atom #23 with some "cover copy" on it. The inspiration for the cover copy design came from my love of old horror poster/cover art, more specifically, Attack of the Giant Leeches. Hopefully the similarities are evident.

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

Drunken Zombie Podcast

Well, I felt inspired over the last two days to come up with a peice of artwork for one of my favorite podcasts. Initially this started off as a warm up sketch, and then I figured--well I might as well ink it, and then color it and add some text treatment. So here it is, maybe they will like it and use it for something.

The New Dynamix Series Conclusion

Here's a page I lettered from the Comic Book series, The New Dynamix. Sadly the series was only 5 issues long and the final issue is due out soon. I was able to letter the whole run and really enjoyed it, I designed all the lettering elements and had a blast doing so, hopefully Wildstorm puts out a related title that I can jump onto. It was a pleasure working with the creative team as well as editor Kristy Quinn. Anyway if you haven't checked out the series you're missing out. Check out this link to get a better idea of what the series is all about.

Monday, June 23, 2008

Unearth: III: In the Eyes of Fire: CD Review

Unearth's third full-length album, In the Eyes of Fire, delivers. This is the album that best captures their energy, hands down, and is one of my favorite recordings in the last couple of years. The songs themselves are a tad formulaic and they really aren't doing anything they haven't done before, but that is too often the case with many bands. Sadder than that is the reliance on recording music in a way that is formulaic, I'm really into different sounding albums, I hate it when I pick up a CD and it sounds like I can play it back to back with a previous album of the same band and not hear a difference in the recording. It is one of the biggest complaints I have about new music and mainstream music, it all sounds the same, it's like it's just a template and music shouldn't be like that... it should be energetic, it should capture the sound not contain it and this release captures it perfectly. Don't go looking for this CD to reinvent the wheel musically but expect to bob your head and crank the volume. I've always "dug" this band but now I like them and love this album.

Dillinger Escape Plan: Ire Works: CD Review

Dillinger came around in the late 90's, I think 96-97 and helped to bring about yet a new category for music...mathcore. I absolutely hate the name and hate categorizing things by genre, especially music. Dillinger is a band that in my opinion cannot be contained by simply sticking a label on it and saying that it is "this" when their sound is so much broader than that. Their latest release (which actually came out awhile ago now) perfectly captures what I'm trying to say. As an album it might be their best to date, as a collection of songs it is not my favorite of theirs by any means, at least not yet. It has gained much critical and commercial praise and success and for good reason. Dillinger has crafted an exceptional album, one that comes from a continual progression of songwriting as an entity over the last ten plus years, peppered with an individual flare, and the desire for innovation in their sound. Any fan of the band should be proud to pick this up and add it to their collection, I know I did.

Shooter: A Movie Review

Another Marky Mark movie, this time a good one, unlike The Happening. I can easily say I enjoyed this movie thoroughly, every aspect--aside from killing the dog, that's never enjoyable. The story had just enough moments to make you think a little, a lot of action, good camera work, good performances and about as much character development as you need from an action flick. I highly recommend giving this film a shot, pun intended.

Jumper: A Movie Review

So, here we have Jumper, which I watched last night. Not too shabby, a no-brainer popcorn movie with plenty of special effects and beautiful locations. If you're in the mood for that sort of thing, check it out. What I like about this movie is that it's simple and fun and it doesn't try to be anything more than what it is. I didn't have any opinions being shoved at me or any messages being pushed, I didn't have to think one bit and that was just what I needed.

Friday, June 20, 2008

The Comp 2/News/Upcoming AR project

At long last here is the final cover art for Apparatus Revolution's up and coming project, The Comp 2! Stay tuned here and at AR's myspace page at for further updates.

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Don’t Go in the Woods Alone: A Movie Review

Don’t Go in the Woods Alone might as well be called Don't go watchin' this movie at all. This movie is stated as being “campy” I’m not sure if that was the original intent or just how it has been looked upon over the years, either way it’s certainly more than campy, it just plain sucks. The music is terrible, the acting is terrible, the gore is goofy, there is no substance whatsoever, not that I was looking for any, but it would be nice.

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Incredible Hulk: A Movie Review

The Incredible Hulk was just that, INCREDIBLE, it was everything a hulk movie needed to be. It was fast paced, fun, and full of nods to the original show. The hulk action was nuts, they were able to get a lot of different emotions into the hulk's face, which really helped to sell him as a character as opposed to a characiture. Any complaints would be minor, but honestly I had none watching this for the first time, maybe once I watch it over and over again on DVD but that would be counterproductive. I highly recommend going to see this movie in the theater--it truly is a summer blockbuster.

Lost Boys: Reign Of Frogs #2

Issue two of Lost Boys: Reign of Frogs hit shelves last week! I'm very happy with what I contributed to this book, I actually finished lettering issue three and can't wait to get my hands on the final issue just to see how things play out. The story is written by Hans Rodionoff with art by Joel Gomez and John Stanisci, Cover by Jonathan Wayshak and Letters by yours truly. I came across a good preview of the book over at Comic Book resources, so go check it out and see what you're missing-- (if you click the title of this post it will magically take you there)

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Zombie Death House: A Movie Review

Directed by Nick Marino and John Saxon this movie is known as Death House and Zombie Death House. I would have to say that Death House would be a more suitable title being that there really aren’t many zombies. This movie is a bore and its story is all over the place, the acting isn’t half bad and it’s well shot but it’s just not enough to save this movie. I certainly wouldn’t rush to see this, ever, but if you’re a zombie nut completist than go ahead, but don’t say I didn’t warn you.

Day of the Dead/Bub: Ink Drawing

I really dig how this one came out, for those of you who don't know, this is Bub from Day of the Dead.

Dawn of the Dead/Flyboy: Ink Drawing

From the cult classic Dawn of the Dead, here's a sketch of Flyboy, I think I made him a little chunky but other than that I'm pretty happy with how this came out.

Friday, June 13, 2008

The Happening: A Movie Review

I had such high hopes for this movie, very high, so high in fact that halfway through the movie I was convincing myself that it wasn't that bad--it would pay off. It didn't, there were many cool ideas and neat scenes, I feel the actors/actresses delivered the best possible performances but could only do so much with such a poorly written story. It was a film of disturbing visuals strung along by a ham-fisted message that we are destroying the earth and in turn destroying ourselves, which is fine, but it just blatantly spells it out and lacks any subtlety whatsoever. Save your money and go see anything but this, I hear the Hulk is good, should of seen that.

Night of the Living Dead/Ink Drawing

Here's one of the more famous images from the 1968 classic, Night of the Living Dead, I did my interpretation of it, which is basically just a mess. But I like it and me and my friend r.s.h. want to print up some t-shirts with it. Hopefully we do.

Day of the Dead 2: Contagium/Worst Movie Ever

Whatever you do, do not watch this movie, it is terrible, absolutely 100 and 10 percent pure rubbish.

When They All Fell: Rehearsal Photographs

Here's a glimpse at what a typical When They All Fell rehearsal session entails. We are currently writing some new material for another attempt at a full length, hopefully it will work out this time around, last time we got overly excited and put out our six song effort, Emergency Broadcast.

Wizard World Philly Pictures

Here's a few pics of some friends I went to Wizard World Philly with, Mike, Scott, Joanna and The Hulk.

Monday, June 9, 2008

Diary of the Dead: DVD Review

Written/Directed by fright master George A. Romero. I originally seen this movie in the theatre with my wife and loved it, so of course I had to pick up the DVD. Upon my second viewing of Diary I found it to be slightly less enjoyable, for a number of reasons and not all of them are bad reasons. All in all I still really like this movie and highly recommend it. With that said, I’m going to attempt to dissect this release, including its special features.

The Feature: Running a brief 96 minutes I felt like this movie needed more time. More time to flesh out certain scenes, more time to flesh out certain characters and I guess I just wanted a longer movie full of zombie goodness. The opening scene sets the pace of the whole movie and is as good as it gets for zombie fans. It also serves to set up the filming process, Romero decided to go “handheld” to give the film a more subjective point of view similar to The Blair Witch Project and Cloverfield, although Romero and crew gave it a much more cinematic feel and gradually toward the end of the film used steadier shots. After the opening scene we get a sort of montage of the world turning to shit, what looks like stock footage of old news stories and the like, I was slightly disappointed with this being that I would’ve liked to of seen all out zombie chaos being that Romero stated this film was “going back to the beginning.” It was brief enough that the thought doesn’t linger and the footage is moving enough to get the point across. We then meet what is to be the cast, which for the most part is competent at playing their roles. Another thing I was disappointed with was the characters; they seemed of the standard horror stereotypes, quite unlike the characters of Romero’s older dead films. The strongest characters (also the ones that became more fleshed out as the film progressed) were Michelle Morgan who played Debra Moynihan and Shawn Roberts who played Tony Ravello and a very brief but excellent job by Tatiana Maslany as Mary Dexter. Scott Wentworth also delivered a very over the top but enjoyable Andrew Maxwell. There are a few others that are forgettable but competent enough that the movie doesn’t suffer because of them. They are in the midst of filming a student project, a mummy movie, when news of the dead not staying dead is heard over the radio. Spooked, Jason Creed grabs his camera and goes to find Debra at her dorm. They then head for the road in a Winnebago, the Professor, Jason, Debra, Eliot, Tony, Mary, Tracy, and Gordo. They encounter one of my favorite zombies in the film, a state trooper and proceed to pass him, running over a few people staggering in the street. After awhile they stop at the side of the road, some drama over the events occur. Not wanting to spoil anything, said drama causes the crew to head to the hospital. It’s a great sequence where there is a bit of gore and some jump scares; they also establish some of the “rules” for the movie as well as thin the herd. You can hear Savini on the radio and Nicotero plays a zombie. It is also a point in the movie where the device of the subjective camera causes Jason’s character to become unbelievable, his desire to film instead of follow his girlfriend and friends to search for help is just plain stupid. I forgive it and suspend disbelief accepting him not as a real character but as a vehicle for the rest of the movie to unfold. The remaining survivors flee the scene and head for Debra’s home. The Winnebago breaks down, conveniently at an Amish man’s farm, which is one of my favorite scenes in the movie; it’s a lot of fun with a bunch of zombie goodness. They encounter some more folks along the way after they leave the farm, some militant survivors, and renegade military men, all of which are unnecessary. The survivors are used as a heavy handed message related to the events of Hurricane Katrina and the renegade military group just enforces the idea that people need to fend for themselves and not rely on others to keep them safe. I think if these ideas/characters were handled with subtlety and given more time they could’ve been great scenes. They finally arrive at Debra’s home; the situation is grim and they quickly leave. They then hit the road again to meet up with their friend, The Mummy; once they get there they realize that something isn’t quite right. The rest of the movie unfolds at his mansion, the situation quickly degenerates and in typical Romero fashion the outcome looks bleak. As to not give away too much of the end I will only say the movie ends just way too abruptly and very open for a sequel. The overall message of emerging media and mainstream spin is a bit heavy handed compared to Romero’s older films, but nonetheless is relevant. The dialogue and narration can be awkward at times often stating things that don’t need to be stated. The camera work is interesting, well composed and innovative. I’ve read many reviews on Diary of the Dead, many of them are negative and many of them compare Diary to the other films. I don’t think it should be compared to the others, its intent and objectives are entirely different than those films. Romero wanted to return to his roots, to make a truly independent movie, to do it cheaply and quickly and was basically flying by the seat of his pants, he wasn’t trying to make the best zombie movie of all time, he was trying to make an independent horror movie, and he wasn’t trying to reinvent the wheel. He did what he wanted to do and I commend anyone who has a vision and has the balls to see it through to the end.

The Special Features:

Feature Commentary: This is pretty standard fare. They point out some of the cameos, acting and voice acting as well as what was CGI and practical.

For the Record: This is probably the best special feature on this DVD, in part because it’s very exhaustive, it’s extremely well done. The feature is broken into a group of smaller segments, my favorite being the one about the special effects, Nicotero speaks for a bit and he’s always got something insightful to say.

The Roots: A very short examination of what inspired the movie. The DVD could’ve done without this, but I like any extra’s at all, so I won’t complain.

The First Week: Again short, but well put together, it was cool to see some of the behind the scenes footage.

Familiar Voices: Outtakes of some of the voice cameos, short but sweet.

MySpace Contest Winners: 5 short zombie fan films, these are really cool, they are clearly the work of amateurs, but amateurs with potential. I’d be interested in seeing more of these.

Character Confessionals: These are kind of silly and I’m glad they didn’t make it to the movie (except Jason’s), basically each character in the Winnebago talks to the camera. It’s actually embarrassing to watch.

Sunday, June 8, 2008

Legion of Super-Heroes/Chameleon Sketch

Having lettered the last few issues of Legion of Super-Heroes I was inspired to draw one of my favorite legionnaires, Chameleon, it's a quick sketch that I inked with a few microns and a sharpie.

Saturday, June 7, 2008

Spaceman Blues: A Love Song: A Book Review

This selection came to me via Sal Cipriano, he told me I "would like this", and I sort of did. I'm really on the fence as to whether or not I actually enjoyed it. The beginning of the book is all over the place and really has no focus, it tended to stray off into these overly descriptive and highly exaggerated scenes, where I wasn't sure if it was meant to be surreal, or if it was just the style of the author, Brian Francis Slattery. The end of the book, particularly the last 4 chapters were really strong and started to bring everything toghether, so at the least Slattery can weave together a narrative and make the trip worthwhile in the end. But if I wasn't compelled to read the book and return it I'm not sure if I would've made it to the end. The book has a grand scope and an interesting wealth of characters. I think for a debut novel it's as good as they come, Slattery certainly has promise and I would give his next effort a whirl but I have no desire to reread Spaceman Blues anytime soon.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

A Farewell to the Midnighter

For all of you comic book fans out there, Midnighter fans in particular, a sad day has come. The final issue of Midnighter comes out this week, issue 20, which I lettered. It was great working on the book and always a pleasure working with the creative teams involved, especially Kristy Quinn (assistant editor)and Scott Peterson (editor). So I did a sketch of The Midnighter, a quick one, and here it is.

Caitlyn/Mixed Media Painting

Here's a painting I did last year for my good friends Nick and Denise's daughter Caitlyn. It's a mix of acrylic, pastel and color pencil on a piece of rigid cardboard.

Meep/Mixed Media Painting

Here's another painting from the Batty McBats days. It's really more of a character design than anything. His name is Meep and I have some plans for him still. Meep Meep.

Alien: Not the movie, just a shitty sketch.

I think I did this one sometime last year, all digital, another one of those "let me fuck around in photoshop" moments. I think it came out okay for what it is, which is basically a glorified sketch.

BunnySwirl/Mixed Media Painting

Another image from around the same time as Batty McBats done in exactly the same way.

Batty McBats/Mixed Media Painting

This here is an oldie but goodie. It's a mixed media approach that uses acrylic, watercolor, color pencil and layers of Crystal clear.

Escape Artist/Digital Illustration

The artist at work, planning his escape while slipping into a maddening state of unreality. I did this while putzing around in photoshop one day and I ended up kind of diggin' it enjoy. It's also available at my lulu store as a download.

Monday, June 2, 2008

Day of the Dead (2007): A Movie Review

Directed by Steve Miner with Mena Suvari, Nick Cannon and Michael Welch filling the leading roles. If this movie had been titled something other than Day of the Dead, I probably would’ve enjoyed it on its own terms a bit more. I expected this movie to be utter garbage, especially since it went straight to DVD but I was pleasantly surprised--it was slightly better than garbage. Don’t get me wrong, there was certainly a lot of things wrong with it; a vegetarian Bub, for instance, was a terrible idea, military zombies running around with guns is another, (they just came across as stupid and laughable). The make-up was done pretty decently. The cast did their job. The sets seemed too phony and the editing to jerky and amateurish. Everything was just too over the top. This movie was so far removed from the original movie that I really didn’t associate it with its predecessor, which seemed to only confuse me as to the intent of calling this a remake. All in all it’s watch-able and I would watch it again (although I’d prefer the original), newcomers to the horror arena might enjoy this and the bitter old men like myself can at the least laugh at it.

Sunday, June 1, 2008

Pumpkinhead: Ink Drawing

Here's an Ink drawing I did of Pumpkinhead, a very fast and messy representation, probably a bit too messy.